In our industry where wedding photography is over 80% of our business we see people jump into the industry often assuming it is an easy way to make money. We see them or others who have previously entered the industry jump out just as often and as quickly after reality sets in. The reasons for a failing business are varied, but often include lack of experience, lack of investment in continued education, understanding business overall, setting prices, sustainable business models and the clients themselves!
But let’s assume you are past all the things we mentioned, what KEEPS you in this business? Certainly being profitable is key, but what if you do understand business, you are investing in your continued education, you belong to organizations such as The Professional Photographers of America www.ppa.com so you are bringing fresh approaches ideas and products to your clients consistently but still, what MAKES you stay?
We think it is this; The Perfect Client. The Lifetime Photography Client. To understand who that client is they will need to meet certain criteria…do they love your work? Do they recommend you by word of mouth? Have you signed at least 3 weddings based on their referrals alone? Have you been invited over and actually know they way to their house? Yes, we realize approaches and HOW you have a relationship with a client is different for each and every one of us, but for us, The Perfect Client, The Lifetime Photography Client is a client who does all of these things we mentioned before, but also has you shooting the various stages of their life. Engagement Sessions , The Wedding Photography. The maternity sessions and finally newborn and family sessions. Yes they are bringing you business, but it is more. For us, it is about the relationship and the journey with them, The Perfect Client, The Lifetime Photography Client than it is about the business.
When we seek success as professional photographers, one of the best ways to ensure it is to develop a relationship first. Our photography skills and vision will vary from person to person and with where we are individually in our development, but when people realize you genuinely care for them, that the secret ingredient you have to offer is yourself and love, you make yourself available for The Lifetime Photography Client. The Perfect Client!
We are a studio that stresses the living, breathing moment captured. We absolutely love the small back stories captured that truly show a wedding day like no other. While that is still our bread and butter we are asked more and more frequently for Family Wedding Photography. In other words, some formalized family wedding photos that may often include children of various ages..
The discussion usually goes something like this “Well, we want to include our children in the wedding photos, so we want Family Wedding Photography, but we don’t want to look stiff or look like we are being posed un-naturally which is something we would never do…do you guys do that?”
Yes we do!
The key for us in obtaining great family wedding photography is the relationship. We need to know you to shoot the images that will truly be “you”! We spend time speaking with you to understand your story. We then work with you to select a location that offers a backdrop that you will love , while also giving your family a feeling of familiarity and comfort.
Time is spent in just getting to know you as well as you getting to be comfortable and open with us.
We then suggest and introduce moments of your family at ease, in interaction with each other and allow your true selves to show through…backing off and letting you be you provides some of the best ways to get images that sing of your love for each other and, as Tamera and I like to say, show your soul! Keeping the kids involved gets them to know they are part of the creative process.
Family Wedding Photography can be dynamic, fun and offer an opportunity to create the very first family heirloom, an album of a day, truly, like no other!
While images from this particular wedding were shot on a separate day , it pays to understand the process of getting great family wedding photography!
1) Always, always, ALWAYS prepare a set shot list for family and friends. Ensure you go over this with your photographer so you both can be confident a doable list has been created and there is appropriate time in the timeline for the family wedding photography.
2) Give the lists to your coordinator as well as a member of each side of the family who may have no other job in the wedding but who knows all the family members. These folks will be the “herders” so to speak. They keep people nearby and available and do the call outs for the assembled images. This will speed your block of time for your family and friends shot list and open up more time for just the two of you or just the family. In many locations throughout the southeast your block of time at a venue may be 4 hours. Knowing how to handle that time to allow coverage for everything and everyone will lessen stress and offer more time to just enjoy your day!
Whether seeking Family Wedding Photography, or an intimate bride and groom only session the keys remain the same, a location you feel at home in, a great relationship with your photographers and a willingness to just be yourselves and let your love shine through! If you follow these guidelines you have a great chance of seeing images that “show your soul”!